Grotta di Serracozzo Lava Tube

February 14, 2023

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Photographer: Emanuele  Nifosi    
Summary Author: Emanuele Nifosi  

Earlier this winter I went on a trekking excursion on the flanks of Mt. Etna to Serra delle Concazze. Along the way, we stopped at the "Grotta di Serracozzo," a lava tube created during the 1971 eruption of Etna. This grotto is 350 m (~1,150 ft) long. At the entrance it’s about 3 m (10 ft) wide and 6 m (20 ft) high but then narrows the further in you go. The fractured lava walls of the grotto are striking, recalling aligned and symmetrical squares. They’re created by thermal contraction.

The volcanological guide pointed out that the rock, unlike what it might seem, is not wet. Rather, whenever water contacts the surface rapid oxidation occurs that alters the chemical elements contained within the rock, making it appear damp. Note that as you can see in the bottom photo, light and fresh air enter this grotto through several natural chimneys. 

Photo details: Top Photo - Nikon D700 camera; NIKKOR 35-105 lens, 35 mm; f/5.6; ISO 800; 1 sec. exposure; flash rear + slow (handheld). Photo taken on 12 December 2022, h17:08 (UTC +1)

Bottom Photo - Nikon D700 camera; NIKKOR 35-105 lens, 35 mm; f/4; 1/80 sec. exposure; ISO 800. Photo taken on 12 December 2022, 5.01 pm,


Serra delle Concazze, Catania, Sicily, Italy Coordinates: 37.756310, 15.053764

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Thurston Lava Tube